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Young Audiences of Houston and University of Houston Launch the Arts for Learning Lab


On August 2, 2018, Young Audiences of Houston, in partnership with University of Houston Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts Dance Program, will launch the new Arts for Learning Lab (ALL). This academic certificate program will train professional artists entering the teaching artist field in a robust and immersive learning experience, consisting of 40 hours of comprehensive training designed to expand the artists' capacity to contribute effectively to student learning through arts integration for the K-12 classroom.

The objective for the Arts for Learning Lab is two-fold: to build greater capacity for Houston's arts organizations and ensembles to serve surrounding schools and districts by providing a larger pool of professional artists with arts-integration training; and to introduce educators and students to the powerful learning outcomes sparked by trans-disciplinary integration of the arts.

The first Arts for Learning Lab cohort will comprise selected artists from dance and movement disciplines, trained professionally in diverse styles from hip-hop to classical Indian dance. During the Fall 2018 course, the initial seven dance professionals will focus on fundamental and advanced elements of teaching artistry with master instructors from the Houston Ballet, Hope Stone, Inc., University of Houston and Young Audiences of Houston. Artists-in-training will participate in seminars on the design, construction and implementation of successful arts education programs; receive tools and resources connecting them to state curriculum standards and national artistry standards; critically observe and shadow master teaching artists in the classroom; and pair with in-school educators to co-create a library of arts-integrated lessons that marry dance concepts and essential school curriculum with a focus on best practices. The Spring 2019 semester will center on field testing lessons in the classroom with feedback from their teaching artist mentors.

The Arts for Learning Lab program comes at a critical point in the greater conversation of arts education, as Young Audiences National rolled out a comprehensive professional credentialing program this spring at the YA National Convention in Denver. Capitalizing on this national movement, YAH and leaders in the dance division of the McGovern College of the Arts moved quickly to develop a much-needed pathway for innovative idea-sharing in arts and education for Houston's students, crystallizing the role of teaching artists as qualified, effective education specialists.

David Bertman, Associate Dean of the UH Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts stated, "The College of the Arts is invested in community engagement and, through a partnership with Young Audiences, can take a leadership role in elevating the field of teaching artistry. Through this continuing education program, artists will gain knowledge and experience to deliver quality arts programing in our schools and in our community."

Mary Curry Mettenbrink, Executive Director for Young Audiences of Houston, added, "The Arts for Learning Lab embodies YAH's foundational vision of leading art-infused learning through meaningful and innovative collaboration with educational beacons like the University of Houston. We are excited to see Houston's dance and movement artists further the impact of their artistry and to enable Houston's children flourish as a result."

The University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance provides the only university degree program for dance in the fourth largest city in the nation. Dance at the University of Houston strives to create an atmosphere for success through the disciplined practice of dance and the transferable skills of creative interaction and community. Our mission is to assist students in defining their own originality through dance, to develop curious and flexible minds and to prepare students with the life skills of creative thinking and inventive problem-solving. We are committed to providing a center for dance in metropolitan Houston through multiple opportunities, including the new Arts for Learning Lab partnership with Young Audiences of Houston.

Founded in 1956, Young Audiences of Houston is an independent chapter of Young Audiences, Inc., the nation's leading arts-in-education nonprofit organization and the first organization to be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Now in its 62nd year, YAH implements over 3,700 programs annually, reaching over 243,000 students and teachers at schools, libraries, community centers and hospitals. YAH primarily serves children Pre-K through 12th grade across Greater Houston's 51 school districts, including campuses in Montgomery, Liberty, Waller, Brazoria, Matagorda, Fort Bend, and Galveston counties.

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